Birdbrain Stuff

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Queensury Sth to Shibden Head

Foster Park was fairly busy before the  trek went partially comatose. A Nuthatch was occupied by nicking grub from a Park House feeder and carrying it to a tree hole - I saw it do this twice. There was some gull movement incl Common and poss LBBG but the trees won this encounter. Others: Mistle Thrush, 3 Blackbird, 2 Chaffinch, c8 Goldfinch, Blue & Gt Tits.
Then it dried up with just Meadow Pipit &  Pied Wagtail en route to Cross Lane and fields where there was nothing to see. The first half of the walk down to Shibden was still narcoleptic until the farmhouse with the feeders produced 1 LTT and other Tit activity. Matters improved across the valley bottom up to Shibden Head with Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Bullfinch, Crows and LBBGs present.


There are birding groups in our locality who don't want you to know about "their birds" under the banner of sensitivity. This flies in the face of national orgs and TV progs such as Springwatch who actually encourage the masses to get out there and report birds, even breeding records.
Surely then these local quangos play fair and don't look at the blogs of birders who do post reports for the benefit of all interested birders and naturalists? I mean it's not British is it to withold information on one hand while gleaning it on the other? That Birdnut chap is really naive I hear you cry!
Sadly it doesn't end there and in keeping with the rancid stance, any critiscism of a birders specific recording isn't posted for all to view but in some cases, is fired from the hip or below the parapet. Which is why...
I stopped comments on my blog (and don't make them) some 16 months ago. It's also why I won't be passing on any out of the ordinary species sightings to any such suppressor parties via mobile bone or email.
It is possible to make a blog invisible to the unwanted ones by enabling Private mode. This means any viewer has to create a Google account and log in every time they feel the urge to see what isn't about etc. Not practical is it? Which is why...
I'll continue as before, take comfort from the moral high ground and perhaps keep some viewers amused (that should  read both).

Friday, February 26, 2016

Raggalds Circular to Queensbury

At 1125 hrs. Raggalds Flood can be sacked as it's surplus to requirements.
Bumped into JL at Soil Hill and teamwork got us a Skylark apiece.
Down the road apiece we struggled further at Ogden perhaps the cold SE'ly was responsible. After 2pm things picked up a pace so the trek wasn't entirely a waste of footwear and energy. Got my first moving Curlew of the year; 15 birds flying in and settling down. 7 Goldfinch, prob Siskin in flight calling, Meadow Pipit, scores Woodpiggies, Stock Dove or 3. I'm blaming the plethora of Maggot Pies on JL - have you heard his jokes?

 Managed to see Barn Owl thrice before the numbing cold sent me heading home via Oats Royd where I saw: 15 Mallard, Moorhen, Mistle Thrush pr, Kestrel & Green Woodpecker.
Oh lets not forget Pied Wagtail and a handful of Greenfinch at Bradshaw plus a lollipop lady who ushered me over the road rather quickly!

PS Kickass Bonus at 1935 hours. A Tawny Owl hooting away  in the trees over my back yard fence.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fairburn Ings

Willow Tit, LTT Coal Gt & Blue too. Bullfinch Chaffinch Greenfinch Goldcrest.

Kestrel 2, Buzzard 3, Grey Heron 12, Little Egret 6, Cormorant c30. Greylag pr, Canada c140, Mallard, Shelduck c12 ditto Shoveler. Gadwall 10, Wigeon 9, scores Teal, scores Tufted Duck,  c12 Pochard, c22 Goldeneye.

1 each Grey & Pied Wagtail Nuthatch Green Woodpecker. Cettis Warbler heard briefly. 5 Little & c8 GC Grebe. Several Tree Sparrow, c7 Reed Bunting, few Blackbird. Goldfinches, Pheasant & pr Red-legged Partridge.

Once again thanks to DW for the journey.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Queensbury Garden

We can start by saying this definitely ain't mine.

 Hi there, Nigel,
 The latest odds and ends in the garden: The afore-mentioned Blackcap stayed for a week. Redwing has dropped in a couple of times. The Stock Dove count rose to eleven. Treecreeper comes in every so often. A pair of Bullfinches were here on Sunday.

Happy hunting.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Low Moor Dams

Approx 1000 hrs at Harold Park Lake which was the most disappointing I've known it. 4 Mute Swan and for the first time in a long while Judy Hogg pursuing her targets. Just small gulls in good numbers, Coots, Moorhens & c10 Tufted Duck. No sign of the GC Grebe pr and nothing on Jug Dam worth a mention. Others were House Sparrows, 2 Blackbird and a singing Mistle Thrush, Starlings.

Park Dam in a stiff breeze produced 8 Goosander comprising 6 m, 2 f. These birds were constantly having tribal squabbles. 5 Little Grebe were seen speading themselves around different sections of the water. 

Tufted Duck amounted to c20, Canadas c10, LBBG 2 & small gulls aplenty.
Passerines: 6 Blackbirds, several House Sparrows, couple Blue Tit, 1 each Greenfinch, Chaffinch & Starlings.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Troublesome Gull Revisited

After receiving an email from Mick Cunningham, I couldn't help but review this gull shown below:

Birdbrain: Queensbury to Ogden

When I first saw it I did consider Great-Blacked Back Gull for maybe 20 seconds before going for possible YLG on the basis of the smaller size but similar scaled down head shape and bill. What I failed to take into account and would never had consider doing so was provided by MC: the majority of inland gulls are female birds and therefore smaller in size.
I have spent more time on the Gull Research org website (something I should have done earlier) and seen many pictures of 2CY (Calendar Year) GBBG which come much closer to my bird than the YLG pics do.

In conclusion, I agree with Mick that this is indeed a GBBG and am pleased to do so, particularly as:
1: I have never knowingly had a sub-adult phase of this species at Ogden Res.
2: I've probably only ever had mebbe 8 adult Geebs (getting big headed now) in the local area over a span of 15 years.

Thanks for your input Mick, I am not worthy (particularly when I settle down to watching Justin Bieber on TV)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Another Local Slog

Took advantage of the dry day to discover, at 1130 hrs that both Raggalds sites were birdless as was Taylor Lane with just a pr Mistle Thrush seen.
Soil Hill had 6 singing Skylark and although I went to check on the Little Owls I didn't see them. Ogden Res wasn't up to much, the only addition being 4 Canada Geese, one of which did the belly up leg kicking display.

Passerines were at a premium, with yet more emptiness discovered on a trek to Giants Tooth. I did encounter c8 Goldcrest and a very active Green Woodpecker along with 3 Robin, 2 Blackbird and a few Goldfinch.
A well known character DJS turned up and we were entertained by another character:

Not a Little Egret, just crap photography.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Burton Mere Wetlands

Arrived at this area of the Dee Estuary courtesy of  DW, along with DM. Good job Queensbury has conditioned us for cold and windy conditions as a stiff breeze kept us out of T-shirts and baggy shorts for the duration. There were interesting birds for all three: 3/4 annuals for moi, a lifer for DW and many a few more than that for DM.

2 each LTT, GSW, Sanderling. 4 Ruff, 3 Avocet, 5 Grey Heron, 1 Snipe, c12 Little Egret, probable distant GW Egret. c20 Bar-tailed Godwit, c15 Redshank, c45 Curlew, hundreds Lapwing. Buzzard, 2 Kestrel. 1 Pintail, hundreds Teal, c18 Tufted Duck, c12 Shoveler, c18 Shelduck. 11 Fieldfare, c35 Linnet, c30 Redpoll, 2 Mistle Thrush, 1 each f Stonechat, Raven. 2 Herring & many small gull sp. Several Goldfinch around with Chaffinch, Blue & Gt Tit on feeders. Coot, Moorhens, scores Cormorant & Canada, Mallard, few Woodpiggies.

2/3 Buzzard seen on the m'way which is now rapidly becoming the norm. Thanks for the trip men.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sunny Monday

Arrived at Raggalds approx 1130 hrs to find both flood and sports field sporting nowt. Soil hill can also be credited with the same result apart from a distant birder that turned out to be one DJS.
Across the road from Coal Lane I was pleased to find my first local Fieldfare of the year; c15 birds being present. Also here was 1 LBBG with only small gulls on the water down below.

Very quiet was the general tone of Ogden. In a broad sweep, incl the track towards GT & the golf course I saw 3 Goldcrest, 2 Robin, 2 Blackbird. The club house bushes offered some respite at least: a male Sparrowhawk having a  crack at a pr Goldfinch. For those who have a weak stomach for the realities of nature, the raptor went hungry.

I decided to have a crack 'pon the track nearby and it's rather fortunate that I did. A Little Owl was blasting away and then I turned around to see this cracker putting on a show.

There was even a supporting act after I decided to head for home because another tick for the annual species list turned up. 4 Siskin flew out of the conifers and had a sortie, calling loudly before making off to another part of the plantation.
Other: Stock Dove, Woodpigs, 2 Chaffinch. Blue & Gt Tit.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Letter From The Outlands

This very interesting piece of news is from DW. The top paragraph refers to a bird seen at Ogden last Wednesday; wish I'd have been there!

Just been looking at Dave Brotherton's photos from Cromwell Bottom, which includes a good photo of a female reed bunting.  Can definitely say that wasn't the mystery bird at Ogden on Wednesday.  I've also looked at images on Google for corn and Lapland bunting. Again no.   The main difference being the unmarked white chest, no spots, stripes, etc.  To use human terms, from the collar bone area, all the way across the chest was a dull browny grey collar, which went up and over its head.  There were two darker stripes on its head, running front to back. It was impossible to see either the wings or back area.  It's long gone now, so we'll never know.

Re the owl yesterday, as Tracy had been sat her jacksy all day, it was decided we'd go and stretch our legs after work.  Ogden seemed a good idea.  I said at quarter five that this was the time it showed up the previous day and lo and behold there it was.  It came from the same place as Thursday, but didn't fly around, just sat on a wall.  A nice surprise was a fox appeared behind the wall and walked into the rushes field.  Don't know if it saw the owl, but the owl saw the fox.

Not a big deal, but yesterday morning I was looking out of the back window into the garden, as earlier I'd put out some scraps for the birds.  A magpie landed on a fence post and I saw it take something out of a crack or small split in the post.  I realised it was a piece of bread it must have placed there earlier.  It has a couple of bites, then put the bread back in the crack and flew off.  Don't know why, but it really made me smile. These critters aren't stupid are they?


Thanks a bunch for this Dave. I've never heard of Magpies caching their scran like Jays are known to.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Soil Hill to Ogden Res

Raggalds: both the flood and sports field were devoid of bird life at 1225 hrs.
Soil Hill was basking in a sunny SW'ly so I wasnt surprised at the absence of birds.  3 singing Skylark on the top only but lower down nr the main road a pr Little Owl were out sun bathing.

Ogden: February has a knack of turning up Oystercatcher and there was one on the buoy. It stayed put and seemed totally blase about the efforts of the gulls efforts to dislodge it. The drake Goldeneye was floating around but the Kingfisher was out of the picture owing to workers presence down in the overflow.

In another area where DW joined me a really superb bird for local addicts put on a good display and sent us  home very happy. This was a Barn Owl and ends a longstanding famine of the species for me within the district.

Other interesting sightings were Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker, Jay, 4 Goldcrest, Song Thrush, Raven, couple LBBG.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Hartlepool Birdwatching

Just a bit different from Calderdale. Starting off in a dead end site Spion Kop Cemetery: 3 Shore Lark, 4 Snow Bunting (2 pr). While attempting photos a Peregrine kindly flew around the area.

Fish Quay: c8 Eider Duck, c24 Cormorant, 2 Shag, 1 RB Merganser (male), 8 Guillemot, 2 Turnstone, Curlew, c15 Oystercatcher, GBBG adult & immatures, Herrings, small gulls, 6 Redshank.

Seaton Common & North Gare: c100 Wigeon, pr Gadwall, c90 Curlew, c60 Lapwing. A large distant flock of waders showed good grace by landing on the nearby shoreline. This held c18 Grey Plover and a mixture of Knot and Dunlin.

Returning to the parking area we picked up pr Stonechat, Shelduck, Little Egret.

Even the journeys start was good. Fieldfare or three, 2 each of Buzzard and Red Kite.
Once again I am indebted to DW the man with a big smile on his face to the tune of 3 lifers. Namely Grey Plover, Shag, Shore Lark. On the way back 3 Buzzard from the motorway.